Loans & Borrowing
While the University strives to provide generous financial aid awards without the use of student loans, students and families can be assured that they do have several options for borrowing in the event they are looking to help pay for expenses that may not be covered by their aid package or the parent contribution.
Most students have access to Federal Direct Stafford Loans, which offer competitive interest rates and advantages over private loans. With student-focused repayment options, these need-based loans provide students the opportunity to borrow up to $5,500 as a first-year student to help with unmet educational expenses.
Although borrowing may not be a student’s first choice, it is important to remember that student loans are a viable solution for funding gaps that may otherwise create a hardship for the family. Please see the information below and contact Financial Aid with any further questions about borrowing options.
The University of Chicago participates in the Federal Direct Loan programs. Students and families can use loan funds from these programs to augment the need-based aid awarded by Financial Aid. Please note: interest rates are for the 2017-18 academic year.
If you are a first time borrower, please complete the 2017-18 Federal Direct Stafford Loan Request Form and submit it to Financial Aid. If you are a continuing student who has borrowed a Federal Direct Stafford Loan in previous years, please view your award summary in your myUchicago account. You will have the option to accept, reduce, or decline your eligibility when your awards are available.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Subsidized Stafford Loan is a need-based loan with a 4.45% fixed interest rate. Student eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Loan interest does not accrue while students are enrolled at least half time. Students may borrow up to $4,500 per academic year as a second-year student, or $5,500 as a third- or fourth-year student*. After leaving school, there is a six-month grace period before loan repayment begins. The origination fee is 1.066%.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan is a loan with a 4.45% fixed interest rate. Student eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students may borrow up to $2,000 per academic year*. Loan interest accrues while the student is enrolled. After leaving school, there is a six-month grace period before loan repayment begins. The origination fee is 1.066%.
Interest rates are determined each year by the Federal Government. Click here for the most up-to-date interest rates.
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
The Federal Parent PLUS Loan is a loan with a 7.0% fixed interest rate. This loan is borrowed by a family to assist with the educational expenses associated with their student’s education at the University of Chicago. This is a credit-based loan for which the family must qualify. If the family is not approved for the loan, an undergraduate student becomes eligible to borrow an additional amount through the unsubsidized Stafford Loan program: an additional $4,000 for first- and second-year students, and an additional $5,000 for third- and fourth-year students*. The origination fee is 4.264%.
Financial Aid does not endorse or promote any lenders that offer private alternative loans. However, you may borrow from any lender of your choosing, and Financial Aid will still process your application in a timely manner. We advise that the alternative loan option be used as a last resort, after all federal loan options have been exhausted. Additionally, we recommend that you use alternative student loans conservatively, as the interest rate will be variable or floating and will not be capped. Please be aware that the interest rates, repayment fees and terms are more favorable with Federal Direct Loans.
Researching different alternative lenders, their loan products, and their benefits, as well as exploring other means of financial aid before applying for an alternative loan, is to the advantage of the student.
Please see our historic list of loans and/or lenders from whom our students have borrowed in recent years.
*First-Year Student: 0-899 Units; Second-Year Student: 900-1,799 Units; Third-Year Student: 1,800-2,699 Units; Fourth-Year Student: 2,700 Units and above.